Cougars Weather Rough Patch After End of Winning Streak

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The Canby softball team saw its hot streak end in brutal fashion this week, as the Cougs dropped three in a row to tough opponents. The Cougars, winners of 10 straight and ranked No. 2 in Oregon, hadn’t lost a single since their 10-13 defeat at No. 8 McMinnville 26 days prior.

Continuing their gauntlet of a season with two more top five games, Canby lost consecutive games for the first time in the season, falling in all three Three Rivers League games.

The week started with a Cougar (13-5, 3-3 TRL) home game against No. 3 Oregon City (14-4, 5-1 TRL). The Pioneers were holding a streak of their own, winning three straight and five of six.

Through the first six innings, Canby continued their dominant stretch, holding the Pioneers scoreless as they jumped out to a 2-0 lead. Those runs both came courtesy of pitcher Abigail Loomis in the fourth inning. After Ava Carroll and Kenna Kraft both singled, Loomis drove the two home with a hard grounder to center field.

The Cougars held their lead into the seventh inning, where they needed just three more outs to walk away with another top 10 win. Things started smoothly with two groundouts and two strikes to push Oregon City to the brink. One strike away from the win, the unthinkable happened.

The Pioneers rattled off five consecutive hits — three straight singles followed by two doubles — to upset the home Cougars and steal a win. Second baseman Allyson Nording gave Oregon City the lead with a double before pitcher Lily Riley put the finishing touches with a double of her own to take the 4-2 lead.

Canby’s final offensive trip proved to be fruitless as the Pioneers escaped with the win.

“I don’t know there was much more we could have done differently,” head coach Ty Kraft told the Current. “OC got [five] hits in a row to close out the game. All you can do in those situations is take away that no game is ever over until it’s over. We just happened to be on the losing end of it.”

Following the heartbreaking loss, the Cougars had no time for pity. Next up was powerhouse and No. 1 team in the state, Tigard (19-1, 5-0 TRL). The Tigers boasted yet another impressive win streak, winning nine straight since a loss to McNary.

Indeed, the scorching-hot Tigers had not given up a single run in six games — and, unfortunately for the Cougars, this would not change against Canby.

Tigard blasted out of the gates with a three-run home run from Karen Spadafora before the Cougs could manage their first out. Then, in the second inning, Canby ceded four hits and six runs as the home Tigers pounced ahead to a 9-0 lead. Loomis would leave the game early, replaced by Natalie Just.

Three Cougar errors haunted the defense on the day, with a costly one in the second keeping the Tigers at the plate. Canby fell victim to their first mercy rule of the season, losing 10-0 after the fifth inning. Only Carroll, Loomis and Madi Bigej recorded a hit on the day.

After facing two top-five teams in the state to open the week, a tired and demoralized Cougar squad faced West Linn (2-17, 1-5 TRL). The Cougars lost their first game to a team ranked outside of the top eight, losing 11-3 to drop their third straight — and bringing the worst week of the season so far to a merciful end.

Though Canby started out with a 1-0 lead thanks to an Ella Kiehl RBI single, the Lions’ 15 hits on the day were too much. West Linn handed the Cougars their third loss — and also broke a seven-game losing streak of their own.

Seven games currently remain on Canby’s schedule, and Kraft knows that now is the time to dial back in after a tough week.

“We know that your going to lose some along the way,” Kraft said. “Our goal has always been to play our best softball before playoffs. We have to get back to that mentality and take it one game, one at-bat and one play at a time.”

The Cougars enter their second half of the league schedule next week, facing No. 10 Tualatin and Lakeridge, as well as a nonleague opponent in Southridge. Canby has played all three teams earlier in the season, winning each one.

Canby’s first home game of the week, Wednesday against Lakeridge, is scheduled to begin at 4:30 p.m.

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